An Old Tradition Gets Better

A saddle bronc rider spurs for the eight second buzzer at the 2012 Barber Co. Rodeo. This year’s rodeo is July 26-27 in Hardtner, Kan. Photo by Lone S Photo.

HARDTNER, KAN. (June 28, 2013) – The Barber County Rodeo will stampede into Hardtner this July, with some changes for the good.

 The rodeo, held July 26-27, had been sanctioned by the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association for the past several years, but this year it will be sanctioned by the Central Plains Rodeo Association and co-sanctioned by the Kansas Pro Rodeo Association.

The biggest difference rodeo fans will see is in the cowboy and cowgirl contestants, said Darin Alexander, chairman of the rodeo committee. “We wanted local contestants and more local involvement, so we decided to change associations.” The change also adds women’s breakaway roping to the rodeo, and “we have a ton of local cowgirls that breakaway.”

Other than the governing body, fans won’t know the difference in rodeo quality, as many of the rodeo personnel are PRCA members. “We still have a PRCA rodeo funny man, Robbie Hodges, and announcer Troy Goodridge, and we still have New Frontier (Rodeo Co., Gypsum, Kan.) as stock contractor,” Alexander said. “We just changed associations.”

Bands will play following the rodeos each night. On Friday night, the Sam Cox Band, Pryor, Okla., will play their brand of Red Dirt and Texas Country music. On Sat., July 27, the Jake Gill Band, Hutchinson, Kan., will play. The Jake Gill Band opened for Jason Aldean during Country Stampede in Manhattan, Kan.

Alexander, who lives near Hardtner, is continuing his love of rodeo through his volunteer work with the Barber County Rodeo. Growing up, he, his brother, and his dad roped, and he competed in collegiate rodeo at Ft. Hays (Kan.) Community College, serving as president of the rodeo team for two years.

After college, he returned home and began a hay business, which put an end to free time in the summer to compete. Now he stays involved by working on the committee. He’s been a committee member since 2000 and has served as chairman for the past four years.

The best part of the rodeo, according to Alexander, is the people and the heritage. “It brings the community together, and brings back tradition. It’s something that’s happened in Hardtner for ninety-plus years. And I get to see a lot of old friends I rodeoed with.”

This year’s rodeo begins at 8 pm on July 26 and 27. Tickets are available at the gate and are $10 for adults.